Dietmar Hopp has surprisingly declared that he will waive the majority of voting rights in the Bundesliga soccer club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.
The previous majority shareholder cited the criticism of the Federal Cartel Office regarding the exceptional status of the 50 1 rule and various hostilities against him as reasons for not using the exemption that became effective on July 1, 2015.
As the first division club announced, the majority of Hopp will be transferred from Spielbetriebs GmbH back to the parent club without compensation. The club is thus returning to the 50 1 rule, as initially reported by “Kicker”. Exceptions in the league remain VfL Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen.
Majority participation has repeatedly caused distrust
"Before and after the granting of the exemption, we always acted in accordance with 50 1. The special status was never intended to undermine or undermine this regulation," said Hopp according to the announcement. However, the majority stake has repeatedly caused distrust and hostility and has recently been discussed more controversially - right up to the proceedings at the Federal Cartel Office.
"All of this has now caused me to want to give up the special role I was granted in order to restore the status in which we worked together successfully and trustingly before July 1, 2015," explained Hopp.
In the next few days, the prerequisites are to be created and final questions about processing are to be clarified with the committees, institutions and the tax authorities involved. A capital outflow is not associated with the step, it said in the club's announcement.
Hopp's move means the Bundesliga soccer club is relinquishing its special status outside of the 50-1 rule. The regulation, which only applies to German professional football, basically states that the decision-making majority must always remain with the parent club when investing. This is to prevent clubs - such as in England - from being completely sold.
The Bundeskartellamt had classified the 50 1 rule in 2021 as harmless in terms of sports policy, but criticized the three exceptions for TSG 1899 Hoffenheim with majority owner Hopp and the company-controlled clubs Bayer Leverkusen and VfL Wolfsburg. All three clubs are exempt from the 50 1 rule because they have been significantly supported by a corporation or investor for more than 20 years. The clarification process is still ongoing.
All decisions in accordance with the association
"It was never about power for me. I always regarded the privilege that the league association and the members granted me back then as an appreciation of my commitment. I'm still grateful for that today," said Hopp.
For him it was out of the question to coordinate all essential decisions in accordance and in agreement with the club. It is now important to him to create clear conditions for TSG in terms of the applicable regulations, to which he has always felt obliged.
The waiver says a lot about Dietmar Hopp as a person, emphasized TSG club boss Kristian Baumgärtner. "Everyone in the club, in the region and beyond, knows what we owe to Dietmar Hopp, not just in football," said Baumgärtner.